Relay for Life this Friday

by | May 16, 2018 3:00 pm

Last Updated: May 16, 2018 at 1:03 pm

By GREG RUSSO
Colleton County Relay for Life

It’s been a few months since I wrote an article for The Press and Standard. I titled it, “People Ask Me Why I Relay.” I want to add to that piece in a minute. But, I always wondered why Relay Purple is so special.
Yep, I worked for the American Cancer Society for three years, and I volunteered with Relay for Life for over 10 years in the different towns I lived in. And it’s today, just five days before the American Cancer Society”s Relay For Life of Colleton County which is this Friday, May 18, that I’m so curious about the color purple.
So, to find out why purple is the color of Relay, I did what all Americans would do to find something out I used Google. And this is the first article that came up. It’s a Facebook post.
“Ever wonder why Relay Purple is special? Well, Mr. Mirura, a lung cancer survivor and the founder of Relay For Life in Japan, tells his story of why the color purple resonated with him. He believes in the wee hours of the morning when he felt alone, he would look out the window just before light. The color in the sky right before the sun comes up is the most beautiful purple in the world — for just a few seconds the sky turns purple between night and morning, between the darkness and the brightness. He believes this is the color that all cancer patients wait to see. It’s proof that they made it one more night, they’ve survived another day! Because of this, Relayers in Japan have named dawn Relay Purple!
“Taking the purple further, annually Relayers in Japan light the Kyoto Tower purple on the night of their Relay. This is shown so that all the cancer patients in the hospital across the street know that Relayers globally are fighting back for them and keeping the ‘Purple Passion’ alive all night so we can create a world with more birthdays and less cancer!”
So…since we don’t have a Kyoto Tower here in Colleton County to light the city purple, Debbie Beach, one of our most dedicated Relay for Life Committee members, paints the town purple with purple ribbons.
Debbie goes around town and asks for donations for the Relay and, in turn, Debbie paints downtown Walterboro with her beautiful ribbons — most of them, if not all, are homemade ribbons.
Now you know why, right after the Rice Festival, that downtown Walterboro gets “painted” with purple ribbons.
And, just like in Japan, we in Colleton County want our cancer survivors to know that the Colleton County Relayers are fighting back for them and keeping the “Purple Passion” alive all night this coming Friday May 18. We march to create a county and a world with more birthdays and less cancer!
And to finish my article from March 2018: Why I Relay!
This past Wednesday, I heard from a good friend of mine from “the old neighborhood” in Philadelphia. She told me that she and her husband lost a child a few years back to brain cancer. And hearing that reminded me of my sister and her husband who lost their daughter (my niece) — a mother of two young children, a dedicated and loving wife, who passed away this past September 2017, with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Again, I ask you, why do you Relay?
I hope to see you, Friday May 18 from 5 p.m.-midnight!

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